2012 CSA week 6July 11, 2012
2012 CSA week 6 July 11th
In The Box
1 bunch Sugarsnax Carrots
2 -3 heads baby Lettuce
1 lb Sugar Snap Peas
1 lb Potatoes
2 lb Fava Beans
1 bunch Basil
1 bunch Broccoli or 1 bunch Japanese Turnips
1 bunch Baby Fennel
Hello, I hope that you all are well and are enjoying the boxes so far this season. Probably the last week for sugar snap peas as the vines are starting to show signs of their inevitable decline. I’m not quite sure how the crew managed to come out of the field with as many pods as they did today, the best guess from the picking crew was under half of what was yielded. The weekly field potato harvests began today with somewhat of a whimper. My mood definitely sank as the quality of this first dig revealed itself as the potatoes came out of the washer. Over half the harvest wound up in the compost tubs in the packing shed, mostly due to cracks and splits. I questioned even putting what we considered ‘good’ in the boxes but reasoned that their aesthetically challenged nature didn’t make them any less tasty. I think inconsistent water issues are to blame and we hope to have the situation under control with the subsequent plantings. I know I shouldn’t worry so much about ugly potatoes but I can’t help it, I take it too personally, I am my crop. The product of this farm, this land, an extension of me. The big fall and winter seedings of kale, collards, cauliflower and cabbages continue this week and we’ll prune the field tomatoes for the second time over the next few days. We have almost an acre of heirloom tomatoes in the field with around forty five different varieties. It can feel like a Sisyphean task sometimes as by the time our skeleton crew gets through the field pruning and trellising it’s time to start at the beginning again. It feels like we’re starting to get a handle on the weeds but that’s probably because I haven’t looked at the parsnips in a couple of days. Weeding can be one of the most satisfying jobs on the farm. Tangible in it’s simplicity, to look back at a freshly weeded bed has an undeniable reward a definite sense of accomplishment. It makes me look back fondly on my early farmhand days and realize that the feeling hasn’t changed much. The work is it’s own reward, only back then, someone else had to worry about the ugly potatoes.
Dave, Lori and the crew
CROP NOTES AND RECIPES Box notes and recipes from previous weeks can be found on the blog page of our website. A good website for recipe ideas is Smitten Kitchen, they have a great recipe database.
Fennel: store in a plastic bag in the fridge. If space is a problem, remove the long fronds to store just the fennel bulb.
Fennel: popular as a vegetable in Italy, it can be thinly sliced and eaten plain or as part of a vegetable platter. It is often served with just salt and olive oil as a simple appetizer or salad course. It can be chopped up into salad as celery, and indeed used almost anywhere celery is used.
Baking: First, braise the fennel for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking dish and add just 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Cover tightly and bake at 350 degrees until just tender and beginning to brown. If desired, uncover toward the end to allow any excess liquid to evaporate, then sprinkle with breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese, and brown under the broiler before serving. Cooking time: about 1 hour.
Braising: Braise fennel in broth, tomato sauce, vermouth or sherry (diluted 1-to-1 with water); add lemon zest, garlic, or onion for extra flavor. Braised fennel is delicious hot, warm, or chilled. Place fennel slices, or halved or quartered small fennel bulbs, in a sauce pan and add just enough boiling liquid to barely cover the vegetable. Simmer uncovered, turning occasionally, until the fennel is tender, adding more liquid if necessary. Cooking time: 25 to 40 minutes.
Sauteing: Cut fennel into slivers and heat in a small amount of stock or olive oil, tossing and stirring it frequently. For extra flavor, cook chopped onion and garlic along with fennel. A sprinkling of lemon juice and zest makes a nice finishing touch. Cooking time: 10 to 15 minutes.
Steaming: Fennel steamed until crisp-tender can be covered with your favorite sauce or marinated in a vinaigrette, chilled, and served as a salad. To steam it, place whole or halved bulbs in a vegetable steamer and cook over boiling water until just tender. Cooking time: 20 to 30 minutes.
The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition, Shelden Margen, M.D.
SOME IDEAS from The Victory Garden Cookbook
Sprinkle chopped fennel leaves on hot baked oysters or clams. Add cooked fennel to omelets, quiches, stuffings or sauces. Add stalks to stocks for their flavor. Add sliced sauteed fennel to fish chowders. Cook fennel in your favorite tomato sauce. Place stalks and leaves on barbecue coals as they do in France. The fennel scent permeates the grilled food. Slice steamed or blanched fennel, cover with a vinaigrette and serve chilled. Chop raw fennel and add to tuna fish sandwiches. Slice fennel thin and layer with raw potatoes, cream and cheese to make a potato au gratin.
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